by Kim Ascutia
When we heard of someone saying that that person is a PWD, we try or tend to visualize in our head the kind of disability that person has upon knowing. Like a deformity on the arm, a leg or both missing, or perhaps something ‘different’ that one can think of. I’m no excuse to that. Sometimes, we are mistaken by our imagination until we learn more by seeing and knowing the person completely.
I, myself, am a PWD. Yes, you read it right. My left ear is no longer functioning. I can’t remember when it stopped working. The only memory I know about is I can hear on both ears until when I was eight I discovered I can’t hear on my left while I was playing with my classmates down the hallway while waiting for the class to start. I have to make the other person repeat what he said the second or third time. Growing up, only family members know that I have a hearing problem. I didn’t tell any of my friends unless they noticed and asked why I’m not hearing them. Even if they do know after I tell them, they forgot eventually. At school, nobody knows. I came to pass way until I graduated with a degree in college unnoticed of my defect. Pretending as much as I can that I hear them when they are at my left side talking or whispering. Like any physically challenged person, I became accustomed to, adjusted and adapted to my ‘incompleteness’. I was able to cope up but deep in me I have this limiting belief that holds me. I’ve watched people in YouTube with much challenging physical conditions rose up becoming motivators in their field turning their disability to inspire others to do well despite their situation yet I still feel incapacitated at some point to be the best version of myself.
After working for so many years in a traditional work set-up and in a corporate world, I decided to join the freelancing sphere. Just as anyone before me said that it wasn’t that easy, and with my limiting belief, I was able to jump in and become one. A silent worker – me, in my room, with open monitors and a fan to cool the air. Far different from the usual, away from commuting, from traffic, from the rushing, from seeing faces of other commuters seated next to and in front of while waiting to reach their workplaces. Being a PWD doesn’t matter. Before, I worried because I may not fit in. People may not understand. But in the freelancing world, things are different. As long as you get things done right and on time, you have nothing to worry unless your computer breaks down. I still have my limiting belief but not like I used to have before. My freelancing journey is not that long. I still have to muster the courage to take more learning and higher leaping to become the freelancer I want to be, someone that I can stand up for and say I’m the best.